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A Focus on Domestic Violence in MN's Latino Population

PHOTO: An effort to reduce domestic violence among Minnesota's Latino population is using social connectedness to engage the community and let victims know what help is available. Photo credit: Nicola/Flickr.
PHOTO: An effort to reduce domestic violence among Minnesota's Latino population is using social connectedness to engage the community and let victims know what help is available. Photo credit: Nicola/Flickr.
December 22, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Domestic violence cuts across all economic, racial and social boundaries in Minnesota but there can be varied needs among victims, and one effort finding success is focused on the state's Latino population.

Ivette Izea-Martinez, community engagement manager at Casa de Esperanza, says their Amigas program uses leadership training and social media to increase connections to community and resources for women in abusive relationships. She says that helps break the isolation common for many victims.

"When we're immigrants and we moved here, our support system always stays back home," Izea-Martinez says. "So when a community member finds themselves in a situation of violence in this county, they lack some of that family support and friend support, community support."

Izea-Martinez says when victims know their rights and that there is help available, they are more likely to take action by calling authorities or leaving the relationship. She says the social connectedness can also help advance the conversation about domestic violence.

"We truly believe the more the community is engaged, the more they know about it and understand it and can challenge each other to change those behaviors," she says. "This is only going to end when all areas of the community stand up to say 'You know what? It isn't okay.'"

The Amigas program at Casa de Esperanza is funded through a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-in-four women and one-in-seven men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.



John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN